When it comes to smoking ribs, you will find a list of endless cooking methods in almost every BBQ cookbook. And as an amateur in the BBQ world, it can be overwhelming to choose from many methods.
Many people have eaten savory smoked ribs with the bones falling out, which they loved, and wondered how it is prepared. But each time they try to prepare theirs at home, they end up with dry, chewy ribs instead of delicious tender ribs.
One of the surest methods for preparing tender ribs is the 3 2 1 Ribs Method. This smoking method is an incredible smoking style employed by some home chefs to prepare tasty wood-fired ribs. It has become popular in most homes because of its simplicity.
To find all you need to know about the 3 2 1 ribs method, stay glued to this post and read till the end. Especially if you are new to smoking or looking for how to prepare moist and tenderized racks of ribs?
The Best Cut Of Ribs to Buy
Ribs are usually associated with two types of animal cut, which are pork and beef. However, the most commonly used ribs for this technique are any of the pork ribs.
Pork has two main types of ribs, which are spareribs and loin back ribs. But whichever one you use is dependent on personal choices.
However, this 3 1 2 smoking method is better suited for spare ribs than loin back ribs. This is because loin back ribs have less meat than the spare ribs, and the six hours cooking time will make the loin ribs chewy and dry.
No culinary skill can transform low-quality ribs into award-winning ribs, which is why it is important to buy quality cuts of meat irrespective of the price tag.
When buying precut meat from the market, ensure it is looking fresh and firm. Do not buy any slimy meat, or smelling racks of ribs, or brown-looking meat.
What is the 3 2 1 Ribs Method?
3 2 1 Ribs Method is a unique technique for smoking ribs into tenderized meat over a specific heat for a specific period. It is named 3 2 1 ribs method because of the three batches of cooking times required to get ready.
Although you don’t really need additional tools when using this method, one of the supplies you cannot do without is aluminum foil paper.
What Does The 3 2 1 Stands For?
The figures represent the sum total of the smoking time required to prepare racks of ribs when using this cooking style.
You will need six hours, excluding the prep time, which can be divided into three. They are known as the smoking time, the steaming Time, and the basting Time.
The 3 signifies the hours for smoking, the 2 represents the hours for wrapping the ribs with liquid, and the 1 represents an hour for saucing the ribs.
The first three hours are used for smoking the ribs. This is the time when the cut of meat gets tough, and a smoky flavor is induced into it.
The steaming time is the next step that follows, and it takes two hours. At this stage, the ribs are covered in a foil and allowed to boil or slow cook. The ribs get moist from within, making the bones easily slide out due to their tender nature.
The remaining one hour, which is also referred to as the basting time, is the final stage. The ribs are unwrapped and then allowed to smoke to create a crusty surface. The outer part gets a bit tough, while the inner part remains moist with the bones intact.
Let’s get started with how to prepare delicious smoked ribs using the 3 2 1 ribs method.
- Any Racks of ribs of your choice
- Aluminum foil
- Seasoning rub
- Honey or apple cider or butter or water
- BBQ sauce
- A smoker
- Wood or pellet for the smoker
- Cooking time – 6 hours
- Ideal Smoking Temperature – 225 degrees Fahrenheit
Remove the silver skin from the back of the ribs and trim out any excess fat. Then glaze the surface with pepper, salt, and any rib rub of your choice on both sides. You don’t have to use salt if the meat carries the tag flavor-enhanced or basted.
Note: Remember that the ribs won’t get tender without removing the silverskin, even after cooking for several hours. Plus, the rib rub won’t get into the meat.
Place the glazed ribs into the grill or smoker with the bone side facing the heat source for three hours on high heat of about 225 degrees Fahrenheit.
Remove the ribs from the heat source and place them on aluminum foil paper. Ensure to double the foil in order to lock the juices and make it as airtight as possible.
Add some seasoning and liquid such as water or honey, or butter, or apple cider before wrapping the ribs up with foil. Then place it back on the smoker with the bone side facing upward for two hours. The wrapping of the ribs inside an aluminum foil is known as Texas Crutch.
After the two hours, remove the ribs and uncover them before smoking again for an additional one hour with the bones facing down.
You are free to generously apply the BBQ sauce thirty minutes before the one-hour smoking time elapses at the end of the cooking time.
To prevent the ribs from getting burnt, ensure to watch the heat periodically and keep it stable throughout the whole smoking time.
Refill the grill or smoker with pellet or charcoal if you have to. We also recommend that the temperature of the smoker should be below 265 degrees Fahrenheit for excellent results.
Moreover, suppose you thoroughly follow this method. In that case, you are assured of restaurant-quality ribs without having to put in a lot of effort.
What’s the difference between the bone side up and the bone side down?
You will always have to flip the sides of the meat you are grilling when using a smoker or a grill. However, some recipes are more specific on which side of the beef to face down or up.
Whichever side faces up will determine the texture of the beef when it’s ready. When the bones are facing up, all the juices from the meat will accumulate in the concave area of the bones, making it tender. But the smoky flavor won’t easily penetrate all parts of the meat.
If you want more of the smoky flavor to penetrate the ribs, It is better to place the beef on the smoker with the bones facing down.
Downside of this Method
It is a well-known fact in the professional BBQ settings that a properly prepared rib should always have at least a little pull.
Every experienced griller knows that when contending with other chefs in a competition, the bones of a rib is meant to pull out clean and not fall out when they bite. Because when it falls off, the overall rating of their grilling skills is reduced.
Although there are tons of ways of preparing tasty ribs for your family at home, the 3 2 1 ribs method is one of the best methods that leave you with churned-out super tender ribs all the time.
Moreover, most amateurs who have found this smoking secret use it to prepare their ribs because it is easy and simple. With this method, it is 100% possible to make restaurant-quality ribs all the time consistently.
We hope from this article; you have been able to understand how the 3 2 1 method works.